For homeless women, a period can be a nightmare. This campaign aims to change that

Periods can be messy and uncomfortable for everyone who has them – but imagine having to cope with one while homeless.

Limited access to sanitary products means homeless women are often forced to choose between buying tampons or food. A new campaign is trying to change all that.

Sara, Oli and Josie, who met while interning at an ad company, are petitioning for the government – whoever they may be after May – to give homeless shelters an allowance to buy sanitary products.

Until then, they are urging people to donate tampons or sanitary towels to their nearest homeless shelter. The petition launched on Friday and so far nearly 2,000 people have signed.

Esther Sample, Women’s Strategy Manager at homelessness charity St Mungo’s Broadway, told figures show one in 11 people sleeping rough in London is a woman - and they do provide sanitary towels to women.

“Our female clients have told us that managing your period on top of many other issues can be an extra problem. For women who are rough sleeping, or in more hidden homelessness situations this can be even harder."

Speaking to, Sara said she had talked about periods more in the last few weeks more than any other time in her life, after being inspired by an Vice article which detailed how difficult it was for homeless women who had periods.

“When you put yourself in that situation you can't stop thinking about it,” Sara said.

“It seems absolutely ridiculous. Anyone in the UK can get free access to contraception but someone can be in a position when you can't get access to feminine hygiene products.”

A hostel put the trio in touch with Patricia who voiced the video below – produced with help from ad agency BBH.

If a man could get razors anywhere, which a man could, then why can’t a woman get sanitary towels anywhere?

More: Periods: the final taboo for women in sport?

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